on August 3, 2011
Update 5/29/13: Member "Coug Moog" in comments to my original review turned me on to the fact that price has drop drastically at some sources on this model all the way down to $298. At that price there's no reason not to grab this more powerful unit over it's 10,000 BTU bretheren. Now that this unit doesn't cost an arm and leg over the 10K, I'll probably never buy another 10K again. I'm also upgrading my review to 4 stars as well. The 12K units I operate have served well. Since they now cost virtually the same as a 10K that's a darn good value.
Original Review Text Titled "Not the one to buy unless you have a little window" and given 2 stars:
The 12,000 BTU unit is a bad choice for most people. The smaller 10,000 BTU unit is 33% less in cost and typically much more reliable. The bigger 15,000 BTU unit is not that much more than the 12,000 unit.
So why would you pay so much extra above the price of the smaller 10K unit, yet stop short of going all out for the 15,000 BTU unit? Only one reason - window height. Beyond 12,000 BTU the case gets much larger, which means it won't fit in some window styles.
Price not important? Measure your window, and if it fits get the bigger 15K unit.
Price important? Then why would you pay so much more for this one over the 10K unit?
I've bought and run this size, but only in special cases where I was restricted by window size and had a really large room to cool.
Also to consider... here's the review I gave on another model that is relevant to this one:
Between family and rent houses I put all types and sizes to the test every year in the scorching Texas sun. Here's my experience:
If you want a solid window air conditioner, it really boils down to two choices: Frigidaire and LG. The current "sweet spot" on reliability/price/economy is the 10,000 BTU unit regardless of make/manufacturer.
Recently they've been making 12,000 & 15,000 BTU 110V (normal plug) units.
-The 12000 BTU truly is 20% stronger, but you pay 50% more here on Amazon.
-The 15000 BTU is a snowball tossing beast, but it's in a larger case that may not fit your window (height-wise) and doesn't have a long history on the market so we don't know how it will do long-term
LG Pros - The 10,000 BTU LG is my "workhorse". Best value. Run them till they fail in 4 to 7 years, then swap `em out for another.
1) Better warranty (but really, who cares when it breaks because you're sitting there sweating)
2) Typically last an additional 2-3 years over other brands
3) An LG rarely just stops running - it will degrade slowly over a season
4) They are more tolerant of neglect (e.g. dirty filters... can't rely on tenant to care for your stuff)
5) Better withstands being placed in harsher environments (direct sunlight, restricted airflow)
6) Lower "lemon" rate
Frigidaire Pros - For family I prefer to run 12,000 & 15,000 BTU Frigidaires. They are a little nicer, and I consider it worth it even though they always break sooner. (Value and reliability aren't as important, but I do have to compensate by keeping a new boxed spare around because they always fail at the most inopportune moments. Most people can't do this.)
1) A little nicer looking
2) Better features
4) Slightly easier installation
5) Circuit surge/drain on startup seems significantly less (think lights flickering when compressor comes on)
Other parting thoughts:
1) A thing to know about newer units: To obtain the higher EER (efficiency) ratings, they use finer design on heat exchanger fins. For the non-experts, this means smaller little spaces that get jammed up with dirt/mold/whatever resulting in a clogged/filthy/poorly operating unit much-much faster than your parents' old units. Appliance repair stores can service your window unit every year (clean it of filth) that will extend life by at least 2 years and sometimes much more. Of course this costs anywhere from $50 up, and the units are cheap, so it's your call whether to service or toss it.
2) The 10,000 BTU Frigidaire here on Amazon is a good buy w/Amazon Prime shipping. For other higher BTU models, as of this writing you'll be paying more but also know that right now with the national heatwave most box stores are sold out so you may not have a choice.
3) Something this heavy is a risky ship (versus store pickup). It might be shipped wrong-side-up, or dropped, or whatever. It's a risk you'll run so do so knowingly. (I seem to have pretty good luck w/Amazon shipped items.) The risk is offset, however, by advantages of buying from Amazon (store would take forever, you'd have to load it and bring it home, have to have a vehicle large enough to carry it, etc.)
4) Clean. Your. Filter. Every. Week. It will keep your little ice machine healthy.
5) Different stores have different models from the same maker. If they are made in the same year, it doesn't seem to make a difference.
6) Tempted to go cheap like a Haier? Don't.
7) Tempted to buy a 6,000 or 8,000 BTU model? Don't. Get the stronger unit. It will cool down the room faster. It will not need to work as hard as a weaker unit and last longer. It is built with some stronger/better key components.
Good luck and happy cooling.
UPDATE - We've had this AC for 2 years now and are still loving it. No problems whatsoever. Still cools like a champ, and we use ours a lot. This year, we even used it through the winter, during those uncharacteristic HOT winter days. Still love the thermostat remote too. Very happy we took the time to hunt down this specific model.
And now, back to the original review....
I needed to replace a 10 year old 12,000 BTU Kenmore AC and thoroughly researched my options before zeroing in on this Frigidaire. The clincher was the unique remote control -- it has a key feature that no other AC's have, including other Frigidaires.
Thermostat & Automatic Climate Control Built Into The Remote
Let's be clear -- most modern AC's come with a remote that turns the temperature up or down, but that's NOT all this Frigidaire's remote does. It actually controls the climate via it's own thermostat and direct communication with the AC itself. The remote also has a digital readout that displays the actual room temperature at the remote itself. This is significant, because most AC's have a thermostat in the AC housing. But this Frigidaire has a thermostat built right into the remote control, which means the AC will cycle on and off based on the temperature at the remote, instead of at the AC unit. I hated how my old Kenmore would click off the compressor because the thermostat thought the room was cool enough, yet where I was sitting, was still hot and muggy. Now, with this new Frigidaire, the compressor keeps running based on the temperature on the remote's digital readout. Every few minutes the remote sends a signal to the AC unit, telling it what the temperature is; and the compressor adjusts, based on that readout, keeping the room a constant, consistent temperature. This feature alone sets this AC apart, head and shoulders above the rest. And after just a few days of using it, there's no way I'd ever want an AC without this feature from here on.
More About the Remote
Other than the awesome feature mentioned above, the remote can turn the AC on or off, set the temperature, timer on, timer off, sleep mode, auto fan and energy saver. It's also a cute little thing that feels good in my hand. It's about the size of a small cell phone and the rubberized buttons are well laid out and easy to use, even for those with poor eyesight and dexterity, like me.
The power surge my old Kenmore caused would literally make the lights dim whenever the compressor kicked in. On really hot days, that sudden power drain would often trip the circuit in my fuse box, knocking the power out. But this new Frigidaire is so energy efficient, that I barely hear the compressor kick in, and the lights dim for just a fraction of a second. So the power drain compared to my old Kenmore is almost nonexistent. I feel confident that when we go through another round of brown-outs here in California, my Frigidaire will keep running even when Edison throttles down everyone's kilowatt usage. Even better, the Electric Company is giving me a rebate for upgrading to a new "green" AC; how COOL is THAT?!
There aren't too many 12,000 BTU air conditioners out there; any higher in BTU, and you can't use a standard 3-prong wall outlet. So I was happy to find this 12,000 BTU replacement. This Frigidaire cools my 650 square foot room without a problem. Actually, I have yet to run it higher than Low speed, and at that setting, it's been cooling off the whole room quite quickly, and keeping it at a constant temperature. I know it's early in the season, but it's already gotten hot and muggy here in Southern California, so I've had plenty of opportunity to put this new AC through its paces already. But thus far, I'm quite confident this Frigidaire can more than handle the sweltering heats that are coming.
I have a couple different air purifiers, but it's cool that this AC also has a built-in ionizer. With all the air it blows around the room, it's good to know that I can turn the ionizer on with the push of a button, and minimize the dust flying around. For those of us with respiratory problems, this is a HUGE Bonus!
If I could find an AC that does all this one can, plus install itself, then it would be the perfect AC! Short of that fantasy, this AC was well worth the setup. I had help with it, and 2 hours later -- voila -- we were enjoying the reward of cooler air. The unit itself was a little lighter than the Kenmore I was replacing, but let's face it, it's difficult to balance a big, heavy, square object on a windowsill. We got the job done though, with no real headaches or problems. The side louvers were easy to attach, and the screws, brackets and weather stripping were all self-explanatory.
Some other reviews had me concerned about the noise level of this particular unit, but I have to say, this Frigidaire is about as quiet as an AC gets. I have a smaller 5,000 BTU AC in the bedroom, and it's much louder than this 12,000 BTU. My old Kenmore was waaaaaaay louder than this, even when it was brand spanking new.
Bottom Line -- Frigidaire really hasn't done themselves any favors by describing and marketing this AC so poorly. They should be punching up what's special about this remote (the built-in thermostat,) how it interacts with the AC, and why that unique feature matters to consumers. It's truly one of a kind and that feature alone squashes the competition in my book. This AC is so much better than it appears, at first glance. Thankfully, I was very thorough in my research, both online and in store, and I doubt you'll find a better AC for the money than this Frigidaire. I fully expect this AC to work flawlessly for years to come; and because I'll have it for many years, I'm glad I took the time to make the right choice.
on June 10, 2010
New unit was very noisy. Rather than return it, it was easier to it take to a local warranty repair center. I kept Amazon in the loop just in case, and they were gracious in offering to exchange the unit if I chose not to have it repaired.
The repair center diagnosed the noise as a bad bearing in the fan motor. The blower motor was replaced, and the unit is OK now. The motor being bad right out of the box suggests that these units go through no testing at the factory, and quality control is low.
After the repair, the overall noise level is about average which is OK with me. Most of the sound is the air movement swish of the blower. There is very little compressor sound when it is running, and a light "clunk" when the compressor turns off.
This 12,000 BTU unit is the same physical size as the 8,000 BTU Frigidaire unit I am replacing. For what it's worth, the blower in the 8,000 BTU unit lasted two seasons. That might explain why Frigidaire has only a one-year warranty (which is really one season) on that part of the unit. Perhaps Frigidaire is trying to take over Haier's role as the industry purveyor of cheap appliances.
I later found out that LG has a five-year warranty on everything -- no need to buy an extended warranty. Frigidaire has five years only on the compressor, one year on everything else. The repair guy at the warranty repair center said he has seen only two LG units in the five years he has been there.
Having gone through multiple window units, I'll offer the advice that, in order to get the high EER ratings, these things (all brands) use delicate fins on the heat exchangers the design and spacing of which easily accumulate micro dust particles in spite of the filter. The moisture on the fins along with the dust encourages the growth of mold if the fins are not meticulously cleaned. But the delicate nature of the fins along with the presence of the electronic controls means you can't do like the old days where you took the thing out of the chassis and washed it out at the local car wash. Cleaning the fins now requires something like using a strong shop vac and a tooth brush to carefully comb fins clean at the end of each season.
In other words: It might have a high EER when you get it new, but it doesn't stay that way for long. It's too bad the EER is only for brand new in the lab, and no thought is given to the EER over a typical lifespan of the product.
on June 11, 2013
Update number two: After the summer season, I can say this with total honesty. Using this unit with my other unit, I saw NO increase in my electric bill. But, and this is a huge BUT, I felt a decrease in the heat in my home. Using two units means twice the power consumption but the on time was reduced dramatically that it actually means you are using less power over all.
Update number one: The remote sensing is, for lack of a better word, a joke.. Yes, it uses IR light to talk to the unit, SO, as long as the remote is pointing directly at the unit and there is nothing obstructing the path between the remote an the unit, then it works fine. BUT, and this is a huge but, in the REAL world this rarely happens. I still give this unit five stars but come on Frigidaire, this is 20th century technology used in a product of the 21st century. Get with the times.
I already have an older version of this model, and was eager to get this one. I'll not bore you with a ten thousand word essay like some feel the need to write, but I will tell you in as few words as possible that this is a good product and why. I got this unit to put in the opposite end of my home so it would take some of the work load off of my older unit, which is still working like a charm.
Size and weight for this BTU amount is good/great. One person can install it but I do recommend two. I'm going on 56 and I was able to install it by myself but don't let my results influence you. Being 115 volts instead of 220 means you don't need an electrician to install wires and an extra circuit breaker. The extra long power cord also eliminates the need for an expensive extension cord.
As far as operation, it's easy. Just put it in an window, plug it in, and turn it on. Remember this though. It is 110 volts and an energy efficient unit, SO, it will NOT produce icicles within thirty minutes of being turned on, BUT it will cool down your room and in a not so slow fashion. Plus, it will not require you to take out a second mortgage to purchase it and also to operate it.
Within an hour of installing this unit, the entire house is cooler and the humidity is MUCH lower. Thus, it is very comfortable now in all parts of my home, and also most of the time now neither unit is running so I think that two units will actually save electricity over running just one. I hope this makes sense. I'm old, and heat doesn't bother me but HIGH humidity does. So, I actually run the window units to be more of a dehumidifier than an actual cooling system. The best part of a window unit is that you get both for the price of one. Just a dehumidifier alone will cost more than a window unit.
As far as sound. This unit is not very loud but let me pass some important information along. If you suffer from hearing loss, as I do, then even the smallest amount of "background" noise will be very distracting and thus, be very annoying. For me, that is not a problem, as it helps me sleep, but while watching TV, you will find that you have increased the volume quite a bit, each time the unit turns off. ;)
on July 27, 2013
Easy to install
Size is smaller than expected.
Noise is less than expected
Cold air is more than expected
Price was lower than expected
It was shipped faster than expected.
It arrived way earlier than I expected.
Pleased as punch I found this in my research and ordered it.
The shipper shipped it right away and I need to thank them for that.
on August 28, 2014
Just purchased this yesterday. I will update on the product when it arrives. I am writing this review to inform future buyer that this product IS NOT Energy Start Certified. The page product information looks different than a couple days ago when I looked at it. However, the 10,000 BTU comparable product still shows the same chart comparing features between FRA103CW1, FRA106CV1, FRA123CV1, FRA126CT1 (this product), and FRA12EXu2. In the chart, it clearly says that the FRA106CV1 (10,000BTU model) and FRA126CT1 (this model)are energy star certified. They are not!
I purchased these yesterday and am learning that I am not eligible for the energy star rebate as I expected because they are not certified. Be careful with this.
on July 18, 2013
I absolutely love this air conditioner. First it surprised me by coming before the estimated delivery date. Then after it was installed I felt like I was in heaven. The air conditioner comes with a remote and many features to make my life easy. I set the sleep mode at night and then wake up to a refreshed home. I live in a really old row home and it heats up like an oven and this was the best addition to my home. I spend most of my time in the living room now because this small unit cools the whole middle level of my house. I would purchase it again and would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a great buy. It was also very very easy to install.
on May 24, 2014
Let me start out by saying I have only had this unit 10 days. It is great quality. It cools the rooms quickly and efficiently. It has several features that do make a difference. One is the multi air direction choices. I have it pointed up because I have a loft and the a/c is on the first floor. Second, is the temperature display on the remote control which tells me the temp of the room. Third, I like the option of the ionizer. I was nervous about buying an a/c by mail. But it arrived in perfect condition. In the future, I would consider buying the exact same unit a 2nd time. And it is made in the USA! My preference always. UPDATE: After a couple of months there was a strong MOLD smell emanating from the air conditioner. I took the front panel off and cleaned the black stuff off of it for 1/2 hour. I complained to Frigidaire. I asked them to pick up the unit I had and send me a new one. They opted to refund me. I am now without a unit. I was nervous about buying such a thing on line. But because AMAZON's Customer Service is reliable, I decided to take "the plunge". It didn't work out. But I tried. This unit does work fantastic, it's just that I never had a unit act like that - in decades of using wall units! But I would recommend you try it.
on October 16, 2012
This is a great AC. It has excellent features like the clean air filter, the option to have the inside air reserculating so it is not pulling in the hot outside air and my energy bills are so low - I've had it on for about for at least 18 plus hours a day since I got it.
on July 17, 2014
I use this AC unit in a window that gets hit directly by sun for the last 3-4 hours in the day. I also use it to cool a larger area than it is stated for. It still works very well and keeps my downstairs cool.